Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Music Made Me - Part 17

Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer - Morphine

I discovered Morphine through my dad, of all people. Although at pretty much the exact same time Jessica also came across it too. To this day I'm a little fuzzy on the details, but what I know is that me, my dad, and Jessica were all grooving on this at the same time. My mom couldn't stand it, but she was outnumbered.

The entry point was The Night, and at least for me the first song was "Top Floor, Bottom Buzzer". It was the sort of song that really worked for my dad, a real foot tapper. I remember sitting at the dining table listening to it with him and Jessica.

It's actually really striking how perfect an introduction this was for me. It's not an entirely representative Morphine song, but it was the right one for the journey I had been on. The beat, the organ, the horns, the nonsense lyrics, a deep earthy bass-y feel. Looking back at my path, this song had so many elements that my receptors were perfectly tuned for, waiting. And once this song hooked me, I delved into Morphine deep.

But let me tell you, there are few things as tragic as finally finding your favorite band, and then realizing that the album you hold in your hand is a posthumous release. There will never be any more Morphine, and it kills me. Their music speaks to me in a visceral way, and there's truly nothing else out there like it.

Souvenir - Morphine

Souvenir didn't hit my radar right away. But hot damn how it worked its tendrils in. The creepy piano. Minimalistic sound. Crippled drum beat. A rumbling darkness. It evokes a dark smoky bar, silent after hours. Or a black swamp. I feel like I'm moving through molasses. And then the horns start to come in, gently at first, and then in full climax. Rolling, unearthing, drudging up… something. So. Hot.

Running to Stand Still - U2

This is an odd choice to place here in the timeline. Let me explain. This was the Napster era. For music discovery, it was a beautiful revelation. Thought could become experience within a matter of moments.

But it was also an opportunity for rediscovery. Songs, ideas that I had been exposed to in the past… I now had a tool with which go back and explore them. This happened with The Joshua Tree. I'm pretty sure my brother had the album while I was still at home, but he wasn't about to let me hang on to it after I had so thoroughly stolen Rattle and Hum. It wasn't until the Napster era that I went back and turned those initial glimpses into a real experience. That's when I really found and fell in love with "Running to Stand Still." And then I bought the album.

Debra - Beck

The magic of the internet also enabled discovery of new awesome things, including this song. I had heard some Beck back when he put out Odelay, and that sound didn't really work for me. But this song. Is. Awesome.

It's funny. It's groovy. It's sexy. It made me like Beck, and really see the dynamic and capable artist he is. It takes some serious skill to pull off something like this, and he's got it in spades. I wouldn't start processing Beck on album level until Sea Change, but it's this song that laid the groundwork.

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